The Gregory University Uturu, Okigwe, Abia States says the institution has awarded scholarship to two young lads who got the highest scores in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
Chief Gregory Ibe, the Chancellor of the university, announced this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Aba on Tuesday.
NAN reports that Ekene Franklin, 15, from Imo State and Emmanuel Chidiebube, 16, from Abia State scored the highest and second highest with 347 and 346 respectively in the examination.
However, the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said Franklin would not be offered admission for being under-aged.
Ibe said: “I have already granted them scholarship by directing my management to go ahead and admit them as soon as their families bring them because what we are modestly doing in our university is to promote excellence.
“And the way we look at things is that there are different levels and types of intelligence.
“You call it gift to a driver who drives for many years without accident.
“There are gifted people with intelligence that can dance and there are those gifted with intelligence to be outspoken persons and there are people that excel in what their peers don’t excel in.
“That is the intelligence we unravel, because today assumed or forced intelligence has always brought backwardness so students go to school and come out but they are unable to find their talent.
“So whenever I see a child with intelligence, I will just promote that.”
The Chancellor said he had been sponsoring the Nigerian Television Authority Science Expo singlehandedly for 15 years, with the aim of fishing out eggheads and talents for Nigeria.
According to Ibe, he awards scholarships to students every year in Science and Engineering courses to develop best talents in the country.
He said that JAMB was unfair to have collected Franklin’s examination registration fee, which established a contract with the body, only to deny him admission even when he showed high level of intelligence.
He said: “And then I said come on, are we not looking for these bright children?
“If nobody helped these bright children it means there is no hope for other younger brighter children in this age of computer in Nigeria.
“They reviewed their result and knew he was 15 years.
“They should not have taken his money, knowing they will deny him admission because of age.
“There are no such rules guiding a private university seeking to promote knowledge at its best.
“They are not in the rules the NUC gave me.
“For the federal universities, those draconian rules they documented in the Act of these universities, it is high time they abrogated them.”
Ibe noted that checks on Google would show that a nine-year-old boy had been given BSC in Mathematics and a 15-year-old received a Ph.D in the US.
He added: “And then I make mention of my own children, two young boys who the Mayor of Bloomberg, New York celebrated for their being exceptional.
“Both of them graduated from medical school before 22 and went to train as specialists in orthopaedic surgery and cardiology and they are now practising in Yale and St. Mary, Connecticut.
“So, I don’t see why I should neglect some other children in this country in that order, which was why I awarded them the scholarship.
“I should have extended it to the third child but I restrained myself so that nobody would say that I want to play to the gallery.”
Ibe said Nigeria needed to review its educational policies in order to benefit every Nigerian with the desire to be educated.
He expressed hope that the National Council on Education would address these issues and change obnoxious rules to ensure flow with the tide in the current artificial intelligence age.